BEING Sydneysiders, we didn’t want to visit another city on a romantic getaway from work and children, but after a friend’s big recommendation we hopped on a cheap flight to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne after snapping up a hot last minute Melbourne Car Hire deal from www.drivenow.com.au.
The escape from Melbourne’s hustle and bustle was a breeze for a great Victorian driving holiday – we picked up the Western Ring Road off the Tullamarine Freeway and followed all signs to Daylesford and an hour and a half later we entered the sleepy country town in Spa Country. It was Saturday morning so there was a gentle hum about the place, busy, but not hectic. The moment we set down our gear at Campari, our accommodation, the R&R truly kicked in.
About 200 metres from Lake Daylesford, and easy walking distance to town, Campari is well priced and cosy.
We spent the first day poking around Daylesford’s quaint shops and sampling some seriously good food. We enjoyed a late, lazy, lunch at Frangos & Frangos (www.frangosandfrangos.com). After kicking off with the F&F Tasting Plate (a selection of local delicacies for two), we then sampled another sharing dish – beware the diversity which will have you deliberating for too long! – and we finished off with the Gelati Trio before getting back on our feet to keep scouring this town’s offerings.
There are a few places worth the time investigating. Benjamin Bandicoot is a must for gorgeous gifts, so too is Ex Libris Prints which specialise in 17th-20th Century antique prints of Australian, architectural, decorative and botanical subjects. Even if you’re not buying, this shop is worth dropping into for a browse. Sweet Decadence @ Lacantro offers exquisite handmade chocolates and chocolate novelties, cakes, biscuits – all made on the premises.
Being smack in the middle of Spa Country, we thought a massage would be a must for the Sunday but soon found out bookings are made months in advance for the popular Hepburn Spa Mineral Springs Bathhouse and Wellness Retreat so we called Jenny at Abandon Stress who offer a mobile service and arranged deep tissue and relaxation massages for the following day.
After that late lunch we didn’t need a huge gastronomical adventure, so Saturday night dinner was ideal at La Finca Tapas Bar.
After a sleep in Sunday, treatment massages early afternoon we were then back at Tullamarine by 4pm for our flight back to Sydney by dark.
Top 5 to-dos for Daylesford:
1) Frangos & Frangos for modern Australian, Mediterranean, European cuisine.
2) Ex Libris Prints for a gallery of antique and contemporary prints.
3) Sweet Decadence for your sweet tooth.
4) Get a massage! Check out Abandon Stress for an alternative to the region’s retreats.
5) The Avant Garden bookshop for bookworms.